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Victoria is spending $5.5 billion building the West Gate Tunnel, another $1 billion widening CityLink, probably $10 billion on the North East Link, $11 billion on Melbourne Metro, $8 billion removing level crossings, and, if the Coalition returns, more than $3 billion on the East West Link.
NSW is spending $16 billion on WestConnex, $14 billion on Western Harbour Tunnel Beaches Link, $9 billion on the F6 Extension, $3 billion on NorthConnex, $11 billion on Sydney Metro South West, $8 billion on Sydney Metro NorthWest, $3 billion on Parramatta Light Rail, $2 billion on Sydney Light Rail, and billions more on Sydney Metro West.
It would be nice to know it was money well spent.
There's a fiction that a benefit-cost ratio above "1" means things are OK.
Here's how it works. A consultant adds up all the costs over a period of 30 or 40 years and all the benefits. If the benefits are greater than the costs, giving a ratio of, say, 1.5, it is said to be worth doing. But if they are less, say, 0.45 (which was the ratio in the first study of in the East West Link), it is said to be a waste of money.
Often the studies are never made public, sometimes they are never conducted (as was the case with the national broadband network) and very often they are conducted as an "add-on"; financial bling to be sprinkled over the project after it has been approved and announced.
Melbourne's $5.5 billion West Gate Tunnel is a case in point. Sydney's $14 billion Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link is another. Internal NSW Transport emails released to me under freedom of information show an analyst complaining that his superiors had as good as completed the business case without access to the numbers.
"How something with no, repeat, no, benefit-cost analysis or traffic numbers can be construed as 80 to 90 per cent complete is beyond me," the exasperated official wrote. "The numbers tell us if the thing makes sense."
And the numbers are sometimes rigged.
A seminar in Melbourne last month on the use and abuse of cost-benefit analysis explored the ways.
One of the easiest is to hike the traffic forecasts. On some toll roads, the number of cars predicted to use them was greater than the capacity of the roads. Out of court settlements were reached between the modellers and investors in Sydney's Lane Cove Tunnel and Brisbane's M7 Clem Jones Tunnel.
Professor Jago Dodson of the RMIT Centre for Urban Research revealed that in the queue at a conference he had met one of Australia's senior transport modellers who had worked on at least one of those tunnels.
"Myself and another col...
Ongoing coverage of the Queensland election campaign for 2017. Check back for updates. Table of contents Jump to comments section. Antony Greens Queensland election 2017 guide. Queensland election: Breaking down the big promises from Labor and the LNP. Archive of The Courier Mails front pages during election 2017. (November 23, 2017) Day 26 Adani NAIF veto to be respected. . (November 23, 2017) Day 26 -Adani NAIF veto to be respected Costings Amy Remeikis reports, LNP and Labor both promise to keep debt below $81bn, and both release costings less than 48 hours before the election: Costings and meerkats: Queensland parties in sync in final stretch. Nicholls Govt to 
David is a full time carer for his son and in quiet times contributes to NoFibs. More at: http://nofibs.com.au/meeting-david-marler-nofibs-twitter-activist-by-griffithelects
Stanley Smith was an Australian businessman, WWII operative in China and expert horticulturalist. His life took him from a comfortable Brisbane upbringing to the danger of war and finally to a life half-way across the world. His Chinese-born wife, Continue reading
The Brisbane Times is reporting Queensland Greens, swelled by the newly enrolled, plan on doing a Northcote, and it appears that the Palaszczuk Governments star performer, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, remains at risk of losing her seat of South Brisbane to Greens candidate Amy MacMahon. Ms MacMahon has observed:
There is a clear sense that people have had enough of the big parties.
For many people this does appear to be the case, but that does not mean the Greens are a sensible alternative. From time-to-time, I have disagreed with particular policies advanced by the major parties, but the major parties are generally wrong within normal parameters, borrowing a phrase from P.J. ORourke. The Queensland Greens have no idea what those normal parameters are.
The Queensland Greens are putting forward a policy platform that, in the extremely unlikely event it would ever be enacted, would increase State government spending by at least $8-9 billion (or 13-14%) and result in either (a) a blow out in the budget deficit and total State debt of over $100 billion or (b) massive increases in taxes and charges on ordinary Queenslanders, and not just on the property developers and big corporations the Greens would like to target (see my 12 November post). And note my previous post was written before the Greens announced a child care plan that would cost at least an additional $1 billion annually. In its media release on its utopian child care plan, the Greens again identified property developers and big corporations as candidates for higher taxes:
Our ambitious plan would cost $5.4 billion over five years. We would make property developers and big corporations pay for 200,000 Queensland kids to get access to free, universal high-quality childcare and kindergarten.
I should note the Greens child care plan amounts to $5,400 per child annually, which seems like an under-estimate of what it would cost to offer free child care to each child, even it were only 3 days per week for 3 and 4 year olds, and 1 day per week for 2 year olds, as the policy states. Assuming annual out-of-pocket child care costs of around $15,000 for child care five days per week (see this Courier-Mail article......
Providing a $1 billion loan to underwrite Adanis proposed mega coal mine in Queensland would have serious negative impacts for Australias international reputation and unpick the progress of the Paris climate agreement, according to Christiana Figueres, a former United Nations climate chief.
Ms Figueres has written to the Turnbull governments Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), which is considering a concessional loan for a rail link from the mine to the coast.
The former executive secretary of the UNs Framework Convention
on Climate Change
sought to highlight that under the NAIFs own enabling legislation, it must not act in a way that is likely to cause damage to the Commonwealth governments reputation, or that of a relevant State or Territory.
Ms Figueres warned the expected total lifetime carbon emissions from burning coal from the proposed Carmichael in the Galilee basin would be 4.64 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide, according to details of the letter obtained by Fairfax Media.
At its peak, the mines product would trigger emissions of 120 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent, roughly equal to what Australia has pledged to cut by 2030 from current pollution levels under its Paris pledges.
Based on these numbers, emissions that would result from burning Carmichael coal in one peak production year would completely cancel out the total emissions reduction effort Australia has committed to for the 13 years from now until 2030 under the Paris Agreement, she said
The rail loan, now being considered by NAIF, has been a key point of debate in Queenslands state elections, with polls indicating little support for concessional finance for Adani, a mining conglomerate owned by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government, if re-elected at Saturdays elections, would have no role in assessing the NAIF loan, effectively blocking it. Oppositional leader Tim Nicholls supports the loan and has blasted the premiers stance as putting thousands of regional jobs at risk.
Ms Figueres said her intervention was prompted by a deep concern for planetary well-being, I cannot, in all good conscience, remain silent on an issue that threatens to u...
In the third in a five part series on the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine, Kristen Lyons looks at a deal struck between the miners and the local traditional owners, and why it just adds to the smell that pervades the entire project.
The Indian industrial conglomerate, Adani Enterprises well known for environmental damage and human rights abuses at its project sites around the world, and built upon a complex business structure with tax havens in the Cayman Islands entered Australia in 2010 with the purchase of coal tenements in the Galilee Basin, in Central Queensland.
Despite its controversial back story, some of which has only come to light since approvals were granted for its Australian project, Adani quickly rose to become a poster child for the State Government, based on promises its Carmichael mine project would deliver jobs and economic growth for regional Queensland.
Managed by its domestic arm, Adani Mining Pty Ltd, over the following years it developed a project proposal that included a coalmine, as well as rail and port infrastructure, thereby opening up the massive Galilee Basin for coal exports.
With seven years gone since acquisition of the coal tenements, and marred by substantial project downsizing, Adani is yet to start construction of its mega mine.
Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Councils (W&J) defiant opposition to Adanis proposed Carmichael mine has been central to this delay; opposition that has, in itself, exposed the dirty deeds Adani is willing to perpetrate against Traditional Owners who seek to defend their right to say no to a mine that would destroy their country.
This article exposes some of Adanis deeds, including its nefarious actions in reaching an agreement with Traditional Owners, as well as its use of an Indigenous Participation Plan and cultural heritage work as attempts to blackwash its corporate brand, all while walking over Traditional Owners rights.
These tactics, alongside collusion with state and federal governments, are all part of Adanis relentless pursuit of a land grab of Wangan and Jagalingou country. Yet the outcome of Adanis bullying tactics has not simply failed to achieve agreement with Traditional Owners for the destruction of their country, it has also eroded the companies social license to operate in Australia.
Surely one of the highlights on the Central Queensland Plane
Spotting Blog for 2107 came on Wednesday 22
November when Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) / Canadian
Armed Forces Boeing CC-177 Globemaster III (C-17A) 177701 was
spotted completing a 'touch-and-go' at Rockhampton Airport.
In the final week of the Queensland election campaign, Ive been busy trying to do what I can to influence the result. Ive put out a couple of opinion pieces about the choice between coal and renewable energy. This one, in The Guardian, focuses on the central role of the culture war in motivating rightwing opposition to renewable energy. In The Conversation, I look at the economics and business aspects and debunk the idea that ultrasupercritical technology makes coal-fired power a high efficiency, low emissions technology
Also, in New Matilda, Im collaborating with Morgan Brigg and Kristen Lyons of the Global Change Institute to produce a five-part series on Adani and the resistance to the project by the Wangan and Jagalingou people.
The Adani Group is reportedly close to announcing it has the money to build its controversial Queensland coal mine and rail link, but there are concerns the involvement of Chinese cash could cost Australia jobs.
An unnamed director of Adani Mining has told industry figures that the company had secured Chinese funding for the Carmichael mine and associated rail line, the ABC says.
He reportedly said Adani wouldnt need a loan of up to $1 billion from the taxpayer-funded Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility for the rail line.
A formal announcement about the financing deal is imminent.
But the ABC reports that reliance on funds from Chinese enterprises and export credit agencies could cost Australia jobs associated with the project.
Such Chinese interests invariably require that materials for key infrastructure are sourced from China and that effective shifts work out of Australia, the ABC said.
A key issue in the upcoming Queensland election issue is the Adani coal mine, a massive project slated for development in the Carmichael basin north west of Brisbane. To ensure it happens, the Queensland Government is threatening to compulsory acquire land from the local Traditional Owners. In the second in a five part series, Kristen Lyons explains.
When Adani purchased the coal tenement for its proposed Carmichael mine in 2010, then Premier Anna Bligh declared the proposed mine and related infrastructure project could generate more than 11,000 jobs and lucrative economic returns for Queenslanders.
The rhetoric about the Adani Carmichael mine, coming in turn from the Newman, and later Palaszczuk Governments, however, has always been about more than simply more jobs and more growth.
The Galilee Basin has been lauded as Queenslands last coal frontier. The region has been described as the most prospective area outside that currently being mined and on this basis has seen successive Queensland Governments establish policy settings and financial breaks, as well as expedite approval processes and champion pro-mining rhetoric, to drive a state-led enclosure of Aboriginal and pastoral lands to open up the Galilee Basin for coal mining.
And for Adani, this constitutes a land grab of Wangan and Jagalingou Country. While Wangan and Jagalingou people are pulled in multiple directions by competing interests, the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council (W&J) have asserted sustained opposition to Adanis proposed mine.
Despite their resistance, and a tireless campaign built around a defense of the right to say no, the Queensland Government has failed to even acknowledge W&Js opposition to the mine, a position simply incongruent with their coal extraction agenda for the region.
Instead, the Queensland Government has walked over Indigenous rights in its efforts to secure W&J country, and to open up the Galilee Basin for the final frontier in a long history of often violent extractivism.Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. (IMAGE: David Jackmanson, Flickr)
Our research exposes some of the direct and covert manoeuvres of the Queensland Government in sidelining the rights of Traditional Owners to make way for Adanis mines. And given the current elevation of the A...
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